Friday, July 2, 2010

not in right now.

Bloody noses, broken bones, running away (2 weeks spent in Utah just mom & kids), car accident, misbehavior, surgery, physical therapy, and a home in desperate need of some attention… These are just some of the reasons for being mia in the last month. We are home recuperating from life (surgery was just yesterday- K’s tonsils & adenoids for obstructive sleep apnea).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

journal entry.

I was thinking tonight of how I have felt restless today, and frequently lately. A yearning for something, but what? Why? As I was thinking of this it occured to me that perhaps it is simply a longing for peace and normalcy again. See, I had reached this state and feeling of contentment and happiness with pretty much all the aspects of my life. I had things figured out. I should clarify- I AM happy with my life. However, I would be fooling myself if I did not admit that these past six months have been HARD. Not in any way that ever seemed too difficult to handle. Not in any way that has left me feeling a low of lows (though, admittedly, things were pretty bad after the miscarriage when this all began). I have always felt greatly blessed and very grateful. No, this is different. It is a feelign of weariness. Like it has been a long, drawn-out process of wearying myself. I am not complaining. I am simply remembering what was once so liberating to myself after all this began... That no one can nurture me better than myself (except my Heavenly Father of course). I'm not sure if nurture is the right word. Let me see if I can explain. After my fall and concussion, as soon as I stopped bleeding from the miscarriage, I treated myself to a massage. I believe very strongly in the healing benefits of massage. After my massage I felt, almost overwhelmingly, as though my soul had been hugged. Like I had allowed myself to soothe some inner broken spirit by saying 'it's okay- it's been really hard and you've been through hard thing' and doing something nice and healing for myself by getting the massage. It was a wonderful and freeing experience after having been in bed for weeks becasue of the pain (both physical and emotional) of a miscarriage and then the physical trauma of a concussion and other injuries. 

Well, as we all inevitably do, I got caught up in the business of life. I lost myself in the service of others. It didn't hurt that this occured just before November and the holiday season. As my body tried to heal and I sought answers to help it, I failed to remember to renew and uplift my soul. Since October my life has seemed an endless stream of doctor's appointments and ailments for myself. Of pain, frustration, and more questions than answers. It is one thing to always be taking your children to doctors or to fight to find answers for a loved one's medical condition. I find it so much more draining to have to do it for yourself. No wonder I have suddenly missed my mom more in the last month than I have in a long time! No wonder I have not just longed for, but truly YEARNED to travel, to get away, to immerse myself in art and nature and new things. No wonder I find myself suddenly wanting to move far away even though I love my home, my neighbors, my ward, my location. It's as if I think that doing something big and drastic will suddenly make me all better again. It won't. 

I realized that the only way I am going to return to a state of 'normalcy' and vibrancy admidst the medical issues at hand is to acknowledge my own self and say 'hey, it's okay.' What a self-empowering thing that is. To say to yourself that you can be content and happy and satisfied and yet weary. To say that weekly appointments (at a minimum) would be draining on any person who did not take care of themselves, even some who did. To say that perhaps it isn't your fault that your body appears to be falling to pieces...and that if it is then that's okay too so long as you don't let your soul do the same. To acknowledge that you can just keep keepin on and forging forward but that even a long journey wearies the seasoned traveler. No wonder there are days when every fiber of my being just yearns for a break. But how do you take a break from yourself? From a body that isn't allowing you to do the things you really want to? You don't. Instead you must turn to confront it, to embrace it, to nurture it. Only then can you begin to heal, even if your body does not (or does not for a longer period of time). 

I am going to try and remember these things especially as I go to my physical therapy tommorow. I left my last appointment in tears after having a setback so soon into treatment and being able to perform so few of the tasks. I expressed frustration to the therapist at the cause not being singled the inability STILL to rule out a problem within the brain. I am sure that was my own (well founded) fears talking. I told them of how I didn't have time for this, for not being able to function normally. I needed my life back. Other people needed me fully back. The poor physical therapist was so kind and patient as I expressed my frustration at feeling like so much of my body was just one big mess that seemed beyond repair. He just tried to reassure me that I will get better. I will. But I don't believe it will be as quick as I want it to be. 

I can't control a lot of what's been going on. I can control how I take care of myself and my broken soul that just needs a little TLC (which is why the surprise overnighter with DH was so nice). I can't make doctor's schedules open up so they can see me sooner instead of making me wait forever between tests and diagnoses. I can't control that they can't see all of my brain adequately because of my braces. I can't control the fact that I have to have the braces on because of a fall that occured in October, that wasn't my fault. Try as I might, I can't control the dizziness or the fact that I may not get a definitive answer or prognosis. And in case you wondered, the current possible culprits include (as in any, a combo of any, or none of the above): the concussion (of course), dental work, excessive Ibuprofen use, something in my brain (which could also have been caused by the concussion), my thyroid, my thyroid medication, something else altogether, or excessive illness all at once (think my sinus infection on top of wisdom teeth removal and multiple dry sockets). I can't control the floaters in my vision these days and the endless aggravation it gives me (ok, maybe that part is up to me). However, I can acknowledge that it has been going on and wearing me out. I have never, and never will, ceased to be grateful for those good doctors who are so hard to get in to. I have done my best to not make my life all about this stuff or complaining. I must admit though that it is hard to pretend that something that takes up so much time is not there. 

The morning before my mom passed away she and I had been having a long conversation. She told me, "I'm tired. I'm just so tired of it all." I sensed it. She had fought the good fight and was tired of fighting it. I can't tell you how many times these past months I have echoed those sentiments. But I haven't been ready to throw in the towel yet. No, instead I am recommitting myself to ME. Not in a selfish way. No. I am giving my soul a hug and a little bit of nurturing. This is my reminder to myself (and request for future reminders from you). It starts now and with a massage on Saturday. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


These days it seems I can hardly think straight.  Sure, life of a mom right?  Well, yah.  That and this craziness going on with my head.  No sarcastic comments necessary.  I got blindsided by a bizarre attack of vertigo back on Feb 23rd.  The kind of room spinning that left me unable to stand and throwing up.  Lying down didn't help either and it kept me up through the night.  I saw a doctor the next day who told me it was probably a virus and then medicated me with a heavy dose of meclizine and promethazine.  I literally slept for 24 hours solid and nearly another 24 hours after that.  Anyway, long story short… Here we are at the beginning of April and I’m still seeing multiple doctors with no clear answers.  I had a full 2 weeks where I truly was stuck in bed.  I couldn't even take care of my kids and I’m so grateful to all the many people who stepped in to fill those shoes.  Here’s a big bonus to marrying a return missionary too– DH really didn’t mind cooking for the family in the meantime (I could barely eat anyway) and was quite capable of doling out spaghetti, chili, quesadillas, mac and cheese, and more.  

What have we determined?  Well, meclizine doesn’t work.  Benadryl plus Lorazepam makes you feel like you’ve had anesthesia.  I was given an i.v. at one point because I was apparently dehydrated.  Ummm… Oh, braces make it so you can’t see the frontal lobe on an MRI (but otherwise things look fine).  My thyroid was bizarrely too high (weird since I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis)- still waiting on the results of the thyroid ultrasound.  I suddenly have heart palpitations (waiting on the echo results as well).  My period decided to go MIA for a month— which was really fabulous since I already was feeling like my body was freaking out.  No, I’m not pregnant but apparently doctors are quick to jump to that conclusion when you tell them you are dizzy.  I have a constant black spot in my vision, like someone just put a little tiny sharpie dot onto my eye.  My vestibular nerve is too inflamed to tell whether the cause of the problem is in the brain or the ear canals…. however chances are that all this dizzy business can be traced to that fateful day.  Yep.  Even now.  One speculation is that when I hit my head it dislodged some of the crystals that are deep in your inner ear and help you maintain balance.  Over time they've migrated to the other side and started hitting the vestibular nerve…causing severe neuritis and all these fun problems.
So what does this mean?  Well, I've had balance testing done and this thing called the Epiley Omniax.  If you want a ride that will make you want to hurl, just try this thing out.  I've had a couple of treatments.  Now I have to go to physical therapy a couple times a week for 1-2 months to retrain my brain to recognize proper balance cues because I’m improperly compensating now– which can explain my constant fatigue.  I’m still waiting to see the opthaneurologist about my eye spots and waiting for a return appointment for the results of the echo and ultrasound as well as some other bloodwork.  Bonus?  I have new glasses now.  Forgot to mention that- I went to an eye doctor as well because my vision was being weird and it turned out my glasses were suddenly randomly overcorrecting my vision.
Anyway, I’m glad we have health insurance.
I’m just tired of visiting doctor’s offices and having to find sitters.  At this rate I could’ve had a baby.
DH (and his mom) surprised me with a wonderful overnighter a couple of weeks ago.  It was fantastic because I really needed it.  I already need another.  ;)   It’s been a long while since he and I were able to get away together overnight sans children.  I am just so at my limit these days.  I mean, it’s not really my limit because I know I can be pushed further and probably will be.  I’m just saying that I’ve just been weary.  For several months.  Just plain weary.  Not depressed, no.  Weary.  There’s a difference.  So it was wonderful to have something nice done for me as a surprise. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Who doesn’t make resolutions at the beginning of every year?  I’m not even a fan of them but I find myself thinking about them each New Year’s.  This year I decided to take a cue from something my high school art teacher taught us.  I didn’t just set goals, I resolved to do things.  I’m not making a list of things of things that I hope to be able to accomplish this year.  Instead I’m making a list of things I will do this year and putting it out there to happen.  So here goes.

In 2010 I will:
- Read at least 20 books (I’m currently on numbers 6 and 7)

- Finish rereading the Book of Mormon

- Take a name to the temple (it’s all ready now…just needs to be done)

- Lose all this baby weight (and yes, I’m still going to call it that even though my baby will turn 2 this year), slowly but surely so that it stays off

- Go on a hike each month

- Pay off AT LEAST one or two creditors

- Attend the temple each month

- Be more provident by preparing my own mixes for ready-use (done at least once now)

- Learn to can (no, not can-can)

- Teach W & P to play piano

- Paint something

- Focus each day not on making my house clean, but instead on helping it be more clean more often

- Take one photo each day to document what our life is like  (ok- I was doing this but find that it’s hard to do when I’m sick so I am actually missing some and am really bugged by this)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

mouthing off.

So this is a story…all about how…my mouth got twist, turned upside down….
Well…not upside down exactly.
Perhaps you recall that fateful event in October?  The concussion.  The chipped tooth.  The fractured too.  The sprained jaw. Yeaaah….
It was a good month before I could close my jaw all the way.  By that time it was obvious something wasn’t right.  My teeth didn’t line up the same way that they had.  I couldn’t chew bread or rice with my back teeth.  I couldn’t bite a hangnail with my front teeth.  So having gotten my chipped tooth repaired… having gotten multiple xrays to determine my roots thankfully hadn’t died (yet)…having decided there wasn’t much to do about the fractured tooth but deal with the sensitivity until it either went away gradually with time or got worse and became a dead root….Off to the dentist I went again. 
For 6 weeks I visited the dentist every week.  I was fitted with a deprogrammer that had to be adjusted each week.  It’s basically like a retainer you wear on the top of your mouth but the inside is built up so that it comes down below your front teeth and prevents you from being able to close your mouth all the way and have your teeth touch (yes, you need to take it out to eat).  This allows your jaw to relax and reestablish it’s natural bite.  Sometimes this fixes things.  Other times it just allows you to determine what needs to be done (from filing/restructuring a few teeth to full on orthodontics) to get that good bite again.  Well, it took a month before my jaw settled into a consistent relaxed position.  I went in for my final visit and was told that despite all efforts to stay as conservative as possible, I would need braces all the way across the top and bottom teeth and then some restructuring of my teeth as well. 
Not two days after scheduling my braces (which was a couple weeks out), I got a horrible pain in my mouth.  I could feel that there was a tooth now poking through at the back of my mouth.  Of course it was the weekend too.  So a few days of pain that refused to be calmed by anything and I was able to get in to the dentist again right away.  And here I’d been so excited to have a couple weeks off.  ;)   All it took was a look in my mouth and at some old xrays that the ortho had taken when I went in for a consult after the intial accident and it was pretty obvious what was going on… I had a wisdom tooth coming in.  You’re thinking:  You’re 28 and you still have your wisdom teeth?!  I know.  Well back when I went off to college I was 17 and had none.  Then I went to college and didn’t have dental insurance.  By the time I got myself some dental insurance I was continually pregnant (see the last 6 years of my life) and xrays were therefore out.  Thus I didn’t get an xray of my mouth done in nearly 10 years.  I knew I shouldn’t have listened to that dentist (a different one than my friend and childhood dentist that I switched to for all this madness) when he told me to just leave them be. 
So it was… A week after being told I needed braces in 2 weeks (a very painfulweek I might add)… I was at the oral surgeon’s office getting 3 wisdom teeth out.  Two were fully impacted.  One was partially.  I hate anesthesia (one of those love/hate things).  It makes me so nervous.  I was very grateful that my mom’s best friend (who thankfully withheld the story of her daughter’s near death anesthesia experience from the very day before until the second I came out of the anesthesia) was able to take me to the appointment and sit with me.  I was also grateful that the oral surgeon’s assistant was my mom’s other best friend (yes, I planned it), and she talked away to me about book club until the anesthesia had set it before I even realized it.  It’s always nice to have a familiar, friendly face around.  The surgeon told me there was a good chance I’d have some (temporary) nerve damage because of my age- my teeth had gotten so large that there was a greater chance of hitting a nerve during the extraction and I had one that the nerve sat abnormally high.  Thankfully I have had none of that. 
(You didn’t really think that was the end of the story did you?)  The surgery went fine.  I did, however, get 2 dry sockets.  Yup.  Both sides.  Turns out those are extremely painful.  I didn’t do anything about it for a while because I didn’t quite realize what was going on.  I couldn’t wear my deprogrammer for the few days after the surgery so I thought the pain I was feeling was the result of my bite being so off.  That was one blessing of the wisdom teeth coming out- those days without the deprogrammer were a painful reminder that I really did need the braces.  I was getting these horrible headaches and pain shooting up from my mouth to next to my eyes.  I took so much Ibuprofen I worried I was going to be addicted or something (can you get addicted to it?).  My surgery was on Thursday.  The pain started Sunday.  I should’ve called on Monday.  Instead I tried the deprogrammer.  It wasn’t until Wednesday that I called.  Oh how I should’ve called sooner!  I just didn’t want to go in again and inconvenience anyone.  What a relief it was when the medicated bandages kicked in!  So over the next week and a half I went in every few days to get the dressings changed.  The final day, when they put in the dissolving kind, being the day after my braces were put on.
I feel like my mouth has been a mess for 3 months and that I’ve just been living in pain for that whole time.  At first I was pretty upset about needing braces.  Not because they were braces- it’s kind of nice to have the prospect of a ‘perfect’ smile.  More because I saw them just as a daily and physical reminder of that awful week.  After all, it was the day before ‘the incident’ that I had my miscarriage and now I was going to think about that every time I saw my braces.  Well, I am happy to say that at this point I’m kinda over it.  Getting the braces on was nothing compared to all the pain I’d been in for so long.  Especially compared to the most recent pain of the last couple of weeks.  I was getting additional headaches from chewing (too much too soon I guess) so I was put back on a soft diet.  Now I’ve had the braces on for just over a week now.  Wow, my mouth feels better than it has in months!  Is it fun to have stuff in your mouth all the time or to not be able to bite down or chew whatever?  Not particularly.  But I’m pretty hopeful this will work out to be a good diet plan.  So, you’d better watch out because in a year when I get these babies off I’ll also have gotten all this baby fat off and I’ll be lookin like a whole new me!  

Saturday, January 2, 2010

hiking around Vegas.

I am surprised at how many people who live in Vegas (especially who have for a looong time) are unaware of the places to go for hikes! I guess it's because my dad and grandpa practically have this placed mapped out in all their scouting and hiking experiences. Below is a tentative schedule of hikes around the valley based on increasing difficulty and appropriate weather. No one wants to hike in the sun at Red Rock in the dead of summer! I am planning on the 3rd or 4th week of each month. If a second hike is listed in a month it would be done earlier in the month and would not be appropriate for children because of difficulty or location etc. PLEASE keep in mind when hiking with children that while they are seemingly boundless balls of energy...their little legs get tired! If you have a kid 2 and under you must plan on them being on your back in a hiking backpack. Even up to 3 years old for some kids. They need to be able to follow rules and listen because not doing that while hiking can prove dangerous. Some hikes are largely walks with the occassional rock scramble or stream hopping. If you don't know how long your kids can last for a hike, I HIGHLY recommend taking them to Calico Basin (just before getting to Red Rock- there's also a nice picnic area there) and letting them run around there. I also think it is a really good idea to have them try out the Lost Creek or Children's Discovery Trail at Red Rock. It will give you a sense of their endurance and ability to handle hills and steps, rocks and streams. It's a good sampling of everything and even ends at a waterfall! Of course, I don't recommend having your first try at hiking with kids be in the snow like we just did.

Hopefully this list gives you an idea of places you can go around town and can take your family on your own as well. Most are roughly 2 hours but you should allot double that time just in case when hiking with younguns. It should be about enjoying the company and scenery, not just about getting it done. (Don't forget water and snacks or lunch, especially high protein)

January- Lost Creek (Red Rock)
February- Calico Hills (Red Rock)
White Rock/Arizona Hot Springs (possible backpack/overnighter) (Lake Mead area)
March- Oak Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Anniversary Canyon (probably ok for kids) (Lake Mead area)
April- Willow Springs Loop (Red Rock) *Calico Tanks (Red Rock) if not doing Bridge Mountain in same month*
Bridge Mountain (all day)
May- Pine Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Icebox Canyon (Red Rock)
June- Sawmill Loop (Mt Charleston)
Mary Jane Falls (Mt Charleston)
July- Little Falls (Mt Charleston)
August- Robbers Roost (this is less of a hike and more of a short walk and place to hang out- there's a cave)
September- Mouseys Tanks (Valley of Fire)
Keyhole Canyon (camping)
October- First Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Subway (weekend trip- if can get permit- limited number of people)
November- Cottonwood Springs (Lake Mead area)

For information on a large number of hikes I really suggest this guy's website, especially if you like detailed information to find your way:

Also, please practice Leave No Trace Ethics. It's a good thing to teach your children, especially starting young.